A/N: This is NOT my story. It’s just a translation of a Russian Thrawn/Leia fanfiction that I totally fell in love with! Since I can’t speak Russian, I have to rely on Google Translator for the most part and I am forced to improvise too. Therefore, I'm very happy that the author, Aequia, lets me do this. Thank you! And now: Enjoy reading. ☺
DEAL WITH THE DEVIL
Beta (eds): Merlin Emerald, Efah
Translation: Pureblood Slytherin
Originally posted at: Ficbook NET (Link: https://ficbook.net/readfic/4725698/12232578)
Dedicated to: Everyone who loves the pairing Thrawn/Leia, as well as the Empire and the dark side of the Force. :)
Motto: "Odero, si potero; si non, invitus amabo." (Ovid)
Chapter 1 – Never say “yes”
Castle Bast, the famous residence of the Commander-in-Chief of the Imperial troops, was a quiet, deserted place, which, at the same time, felt technologically luxurious. In a way it was the “Holy of Holies” of the second most powerful man within the Empire. It was the place where he kept many secrets, one of them being that there were no living things, except the Sith himself. But there were droids - his favourite technological toys, which he himself had created, so that they were completely devoted to him and did not react to the commands of anyone else. No one, not even force-users, could overcome the multi-level defense systems of Castle Bast. Here, and only here, Vader felt safe. Here, in this silence, this desertedness, on this almost uninhabitable planet, he could rest from the sheer endless noises of living beings, that constantly irritated him with their pale imprints in the Force.
The only visitors he ever received were of the top elite of the Imperial military and no one, with some rare exceptions, was ever pleased to come here. Today's guest was such an exception, but then again, Grand Admiral Thrawn was a noticeable exception in many regards.
"I hope you have good news, Grand Admiral?" Lord Vader asked.
"I have indeed. The operation went well, my Lord." The hint of a smile graced the edges of his thin lips. “Complete surrender of the enemy. Some leaders of the Rebel Alliance, including Leia Organa, Mon Mothma and Bel Iblis have been captured. Luke Skywalker, unfortunately, managed to escape.“
Underneath his mask Vader smiled. No, he hadn’t expected his son to be caught that easily. True, searching half the galaxy in pursuit of the pilot who had destroyed the Death Star angered him, but still, at the same time their failures gave birth to another feeling - pride. Still, it had been a good idea to entrust Grand Admiral Thrawn with the Battle of Hoth. Growing up on the alien ice-planet of Csilla, the Chiss had been perfect for the job.
"You did as expected, Grand Admiral." the Sith nodded, indicating that the conversation was over.
The Chiss, however, thought differently.
"Have you decided what to do with the princess?" the cautious question brought Vader back to an unpleasant reality. Leia Organa. The Princes of Alderaan. His daughter. It was still hard to believe. Leia was daring and eccentric, with a completely uncontrollable nature. For Luke he had a plan, he knew what to do and how to handle him when he would come to him - sooner or later it was bound to happen – but when it came to his daughter, he was at a loss.
"Do what you think is necesaary" the Sith said irritably.
What to do with a girl that had a rebellious past, a bad temper and, at least in comparison with her brother, had a rather weak potential in the Force? After their encounter on the Death Star, she would never trust him, would never allow him to teach her and she whole-heartily believed in the ideas of the Rebel Alliance.
„My Lord?“ The Chiss asked, always probing the edges of the permissible.
"What would you do, Grand Admiral?" Vader asked unexpectedly, even for himself. With any other person the solution would be easy, but could he kill his own daughter? The Sith found that he could not. Even after all these years he could not betray the memory of Padmé like that. The princess was too similar to his wife. And it was not just the way she looked. Leia had her stubbornness, her reluctance to listen to reason and the same passion for stupid, idealistic ideas. Looking back, he must have been blind not to recognize her at first sight. The lights on his suit blinked. The performance indicators were calibrated for rest, but the situation angered him too much. It was necessary to do something about this "problem" now and then to focus on more important matters again.
The Chiss thought for a moment, his eyes burning slightly brighter than usual.
"She is your daughter, and if you publicly acknowledge her as such, she could become an important political figure. Still, her views contradict yours and an adjustment would prove to be extremely difficult, hence I suggest to keep her away from politics. But she is a girl, a woman, she could always be married, retaining her status, but being shielded from society ... at least for a while.“
And then it dawned on Vader .... The Chiss loved experiments and secretly believed that people were weak and could easily be manipulated. He used people like pawns on a chessboard. Used their confusion. Their confidence. Played with their weaknesses. In extreme cases he broke them. When it came to intrigues the Chiss was a worthy opponent even to Palpatine, and it was for that very same reason the Emperor respected him. However, he himself believed that his greatest strength lay somewhere else, and therefore he preferred devoting himself to military affairs and so far he had been very successful in doing so. Another contributing factor might be, that the gifted Chiss was much more cautious than other War Lords when it came to force-users. He did recognize their superhuman powers, but never made the mistake to express any flattery or fear towards them. He himself was not gifted with the Force, but he respected it, was interested in it, and so far his understanding surpassed that of many others…
Yes, Thrawn might be able to control his daughter and to not let her escape while being wise enough to use the right methods…. He could consider it a personal challenge and at the same time prove his unwavering loyalty to the Empire.
However, it remained to be seen if he agreed. Fortunately, Darth Vader knew exactly what to offer him ...
“So, you agree?” The Sith looked at his daughter. “Think about it, Leia. Is the future of the Alliance really worth your life?” Vader asked, probing his daughter’s feelings through the force. So far, everything went according to plan.
“Yes.” the princess said confidently. “I have made my decision, Lord Vader. I gladly sacrifice myself for the Alliance, but I see that you’re unfamiliar with such a concept.”
“True. There is nothing more important than your life. If you do not have it, you will not be able to help the Alliance.”
“But if I die, my name would be remembered. It would be on the lips of our soldiers going into battle...”
“... or be forgotten within a few years, if you clean up the files properly. But always remember, the dead cannot affect the living and they are the ones who create the future. Never be so foolish to believe that you can predict the future. It is always in motion. The future of your friends, your enemies, even yours.” Leia was taken aback for a moment, but then coldly said: “Well, I've already decided, Lord Vader. And have you decided on my future husband yet?.....”
“Of course. Grand Admiral Thrawn," Vader said carelessly, not looking up from his datapad, enthusiastically pressing some buttons. And when he did look up, he was met by the enraged look of his daughter. It was amazing how much she looked like Padmé when she was angry. Now more than ever he was sure that he had done the right thing.
"What? ... The Chiss?" She asked, not believing her ears.
"Are you dissatisfied, princess? You yourself blamed the Empire of xenophobia on several occasions. Now you have an opportunity to prove that this is not the case. For example….” The Sith openly mocked his daughter. “…Humans and Chiss are perfectly compatible when it comes to producing healthy, strong and durable heirs.”
"That is what people do when they get married, Leia" Vader continued tauntingly. "I am looking forward to having grandchildren from this union."
“What are you talking about?” The former princess of Alderaan hissed angrily. "I did not agree to this ..."
“On the contrary. You said "Yes”. You consented to marriage, without clarifying the details and I can prove it. This will be a real marriage, Leia. It seems that, after all, you were too focused on the future of the Alliance and not enough on your own. You accepted and confirmed your decision. There is no way back now.” He pointed at the datapad on his desk. “And as you can see, the news of the engagement of my daughter - Leia Vader - and Grand Admiral Thrawn - has already been posted on the Holonet. Such news, as you know, travels fast.”
"But….but….there was no engagement…." Leia stuttered.
"People believe what is written. Consider yourself engaged, Leia." The commander-in-chief said flatly. "And now you need to get acquainted with the groom."
“Don’t bother.” Leia said dryly. “We already know each other.”
"But not nowhere close enough." The Sith was clearly enjoying himself and then added. "And this outfit will not do." He pressed the call button.
"Let Sir William Rax come to room 23, a lady needs his service and tell him he has exactly two hours and that I will check the result myself." Without a word, he ended the call.
Less than two minutes later, a guard and a kindly looking officer arrived, reaching for Leia’s hand: “My Lady, I was told to take you to your quarters.”
Leia rose from the large, black leather chair, looking back at the devil with whom she had just made a deal.
"I promise, I will not make it easy for you.” She hissed, before leaving. The Sith smiled behind his mask.
“I would not want it any other way…. But I expect it will be even more difficult for you.”
She was dressed in a long, luxurious, black dress, complemented by a large diamond necklace. Her long hair was pinned up in a magnificent, exquisite hairstyle, and the unusually thick make-up, which emphasized her large, dark eyes, made Leia look more like a holo-star than a serious politician.
However, the princess showed little interest in her new attire, as all her thoughts were currently occupied by ideas of how to escape from Vader's castle on Coruscant, in which she was kept at the moment, strictly guarded day and night. Luckily, she already had an escape plan. She just needed a few more days and some more talks with Han Solo. Reaching the smuggler had, for some reason, not been too difficult.
The room was huge with a high ceiling, had a sweet, spicy aroma and was filled by a mysterious half-light, which was cut by some brighter, coloured lights every now and then. There were quite a few people inside, but still it seemed to be a closed club – whose members were the kind of birds that flew exceptionally high: from the military no one less than a Core-Admiral, ISB-agents in their chic black uniforms with no insignia at all, but more often than not with female companions of rare beauty in expensive, exotic dresses and some noticeable politicians as well.
Leia noticed her fiancé in the far corner of the room, surrounded by several people, who attentively listened to every word the Chiss said. He clearly seemed to be the centre of attention, and his confident posture indicated that this situation was not an exception.
Nodding to Lord Vader, the Grand Admiral swiftly moved across the hall to meet the Sith and his daughter. Leia involuntarily clenched her teeth, unsure about what to expect and how to act, but quickly regained her cool and smiled in greeting:
"Pleased to meet you, Mitth ..." She tried his name, but it was too hard to pronounce for humans that were not used to Cheunh.
"For you, my dear, it is just Thrawn." He took Leia's hand and kissed her wrist. A little more intimate and stronger than what was considered decent.
"I leave Lady Vader in your undoubtedly reliable hands," Vader nodded to the Grand Admiral, and then left, his cloak blowing behind him and then Leia was left alone with the man whom she would soon call husband. *Nonsense! It would not happen!*
Thrawn paid little attention to the princess, although he gallantly held her by the elbow. His crimson red eyes, however, looked out for someone else in the crowd.
“You may do whatever you please within the limits of this room.” The Chiss explained flatly and was then distracted by a gorgeous blonde in a scarlet dress that approached him and then placed a thin hand on his shoulder, while whispered something into his ear. At her words, the eyes of Chiss seemed to flash with red-hot fire and he said “I agree. And how could I refuse you?” The blonde woman smiled.
Then, all of a sudden, the Chiss turned to Leia again and continued his instructions. “At exactly 2 am my adjutant will take you to my estate.”
"To your estate?" Leia arched an eyebrow, dangerously balancing on the brink of decency. To say that she did not like what was happening, would be an understatement.
"You see, my dear ... we are officially engaged, are we not?" Thrawn smiled with one corner of his lips, and the implied mockery was almost unbearable for the princess.
“Where I come from there is no real distinction between a wedding vow and a wedding ceremony. Your word is your bound, the rest is a formality, so as far as I am concerned, you are already my wife, Leia. Hence, it is my duty to provide you with a home…”
For the rest of the evening, Thrawn did not go to his "bride"... However, other guests were not so kind. They had not missed that she had come in the company of Lord Vader himself, and that alone had caused a wave of interest in her person.
Here, in the nest of the Empire, among her enemies, and after such a day, Leia was literally pounding with anger and all the rules of propriety that she had learned from early childhood on could not prevent her from wearing the cold mask of alienation on her face and from giving monosyllabic, almost rude answers to the most ordinary questions.
Even introducing herself was torture now, and so the former princess of Alderaan confined herself to a quick "Leia" or mysteriously remained silent. In the end she would certainly be remembered as she had been noticed and watched closely.
However, Leia was not sure whether the guests present were at all aware of who she was. Did they realize that this mysterious woman in black was indeed the rebel Princess Leia Organa, and future bride of Grand Admiral Thrawn? And if so, what were they talking about? Hypocrisy under the mask of sincerity most likely. Or ... had her father been bluffing? Maybe there were no Holonet news.
Quickly Leia reached for her comlink and entered her name into the search bar and then bright photos of her filled the screen, almost all of them were accompanied by a photo of Grand Admiral Thrawn and ... the emblem of the Empire.
"What an abomination ..." She glanced through other news reports too, while trying to swallow her anger. They were different, but similar in their pompous pathos, reporting on the engagement as an act of surrender of the Alliance and the onset of the long-awaited peace and tranquility in the Empire. These lines were a far cry from the real condition of her agreement with Vader!
Now, examining the endless pictures, Leia realized that ... she almost did not recognize herself. In all the pictures she looked the same - with tied hair, in a stupid white dress and a blaster! None of the Imperials present here had been acquainted with her before, so that it was obvious now why none of them had made the connection between the wild freedom-fighter in the picture and herself. The only thing that actually was the same was the fire burning in her dark eyes. But apparently, nobody had been interested in them.
The articles also disclosed the secret of her origin, her birth, and gave some information about her family from the Naboo side. It turned out that the Naberrie clan was one of the largest owners of plasma producing companies. Plasma for blasters. Now Leia began to understand why there was a blaster in almost every holo-image. Hidden advertisement. Some tabloids even called her the queen of blasters. And no one was surprised by her past as a leader of the Rebel Alliance, moreover, there were rumours that Leia Organa, who some articles already called Leia Vader, had been one of the Imperial agents within the Rebel Alliance that had helped to bring the Rebellion to an end and that had brought about the diplomatic agreement between the Alliance and the Empire.
The fact that the mission on Hoth, led by Grand Admiral Thrawn, had brought down the rebellion was subtly ignored. Although such manners were more characteristic of Vader, and therefore many were certain that he had led the operation, it had been the Chiss, who had stepped back from his usual more moderate tactics, that had literally leveled their land-base on Hoth, sparing no one. He had captured most of the Alliance’s leaders and had killed the rest. Almost no one had managed to escape.
When the gangway of the main shuttle door had opened that day, Leia had been sure to see the dark cloak of the Commander-in-Chief himself, to hear his noisy breathing…. She had wanted to throw all her hatred at him, but then, instead, she had seen the perfect white uniform of the Grand Admiral and his blazing, bright red eyes, which had appeared in her nightmares more than once since then. How many men had died on Hoth? How many friends? The Chiss had been as calm as if he had come to a social reception that day, while she had greeted him with a maelstrom of vicious, verbal blows. And at one point she had yelled: "How dare you commit such terror?!" His gaze had been inhuman, piercing, cold. He had studied her face and then had answered so that all of them could hear him.
"Please forgive my... " He had stopped for a second, while one of this white gloves had glided over the smoking fragments of what had once been a safe haven for several thousand rebels. "...rudeness. But, I am afraid that after the destruction of the Death Star, I simply had to stop this once and for all.”
Leia shook her head, driving out the gloomy memories and struggled to pull herself together. The article went on to say that it had been Leia who, with her diplomatic talent, had settled the conflict between the Alliance and the Empire and had saved many lives.
"What a blatant lie." Leia whispered, barely restraining herself from destroying the innocent comlink.
“What part of it? You really do process outstanding diplomatic potential. However, you prefer to use it only in extreme cases. Like your father ... " The soft, velvet voice of the Chiss sounded very close, and Leia involuntarily flinched and turned abruptly.
"Why do these articles not say a word about your brilliant victory?" Leia asked coldly, but managed to force a smile on her face.
"There are enough victories on my list to sacrifice one ... for the sake of revealing your talents, my dear….. Deeply hidden talents." Thrawn whispered, looked at her and then left.
Chapter song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MInTH47EAoA